Meetings No 20
A Congress is a Workplace
Atti Soenarso: Perhaps it is time to sharpen the tone.
Cover Story
All Under One Roof
Carin Kindbom: “The ‘all under one roof’ business approach is considered a key USP.”
While There’s Life, There’s Hope
Ever present words from the past.
Digital Mindset
AI and Robotics
Futurists: “Firms will need to strike a fine balance between AI and the human workforce.”
Safety and Security
CWT Global Forecast 2018
Security should be high on the planning agenda.
Brain Training
Sharp Brains on navigating brain training.
Business Events Must Adopt Olympic Safety Standards
Learn from previous Olympic events.
Clan vs State
The Clan Mentality is the Norm
Per Brinkemo on state and clan.
Sustainable Growth
The sustainability performance of 40 meeting and events cities.
Lunch With the Financial Times
An ­international “who’s who” of our time.
La Perle by Dragone
Emotions can be both a help and hindrance when creating a show.
AIME Launches Exhibitor Educational Series
Providing a deeper understanding of buyers.
Increasing Value of Meetings in Hamburg
Number of delegates visiting the city continues to grow.
60 Tips for a Stunningly Great Life
Robin Sharma on leadership.
Brain Check
Going Behind the Mind
Tomas Dalström on neuromarketing and digital vs. print advertising.
Where Event Design and Meetings Management Meet
Event quality is back on the table.
Van der Vijver
Locusts or Legacy?
Meeting designer Mike Van der Vijver: Bring the local community and the event community together.
Benny Andersson
On composition.
New Discovery on Memory Consolidation
Challenging a basic assumption about memory encoding.
The Saudi Arabian city of the future.
Obligations, Engagement and Legacy
Roger Kellerman: The word ‘obligation’ is high on the agenda.
one step at the time
Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
gets the green light to reopen.
330 million jobs worldwide
European Cities Marketing
call for an open and permanent dialogue between European institutions and local destinations.
More than 300 people
ICC Sydney
launches industry leading hybrid event solutions.

RAI Amsterdam
one of first European venues to reopen without visitor number restrictions.
Emirates airline refunds over $500m to passengers
Still over 500,000 refund requests.

Cologne ready for business events
trade fairs are indispensable as central business meeting points.
safety & Security
Ras Al Khaimah
becomes the first city in the world to be certified as safe by Bureau Veritas.
strong program
UFI, has announced that ICC Sydney is the winner
of the UFI Sustainable Development Award 2020.
a destination for business events
Austria Center Vienna reports strong year for events in 2019
– autumn season to determine whether 2020 is a total washout.
airport news
Finavia to speed up
the introduction of electric aircraft in Finland.
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AI and Robotics in Society

With the holidays around the corner it looks like tech is on everyone’s wish list: home automation, robots, toys that learn your name, a phone with a built in AI assistant. The tech evangelists would have us believe that technology makes our lives easier and more enjoyable, right?

Before you answer that question, read this article as it highlights several key pressure points where AI is creeping into our day-to-day life, and examines aspects of what the future might look like should present trends continue. Could AI adopt biases that limit human rights? Should self-driving cars be trusted? Is technology rewriting the social contract between workers and bosses? What are the possible future paths for AI and robotics in society?

The Social Consequences of Automation – Fueling the Public Debate Our recent article for the Financial Times on five key societal challenges and priorities arising from digital transformation has received tremendous coverage and generated considerable debate.

Fast Future 1: Beyond Genuine Stupidity – Ensuring AI Serves Humanity The first book in the new Fast Future series explores critical emerging issues arising from the rapid pace of development in artificial intelligence (AI). The authors argue for a forward looking and conscious approach to the development and deployment of AI to ensure that it genuinely serves humanity’s best interest. Through a series of articles, they present a compelling case to get beyond the genuine stupidity of narrow, short term, and alarmist thinking and look at AI from a long-term holistic perspective.

The reality is that AI will almost certainly impact current sectors and jobs – and hopefully enable new ones. A smart approach requires us to think about and experiment with strategies for adopting and absorbing the impacts of AI –encompassing education systems, reskilling the workforce, unemployment and guaranteed basic incomes, robot taxes, job creation, encouraging new ventures, research and development to enable tomorrow’s industries, and dealing with the mental health impacts. The book explores the potential impacts on sectors ranging from healthcare and automotive to legal and education. The implications for business itself are also examined from leadership and HR to sales and business ethics.

AI and Robotics in Society In preparation for the launch of our forthcoming book Beyond Genuine Stupidity – Ensuring AI Serves Humanity, the team have been answering a number of journalistic enquiries in recent weeks on different aspects of how AI and robotics might impact society – here’s what we had to say:

Leadership and Artificial Intelligence There is a growing risk that firms will become over-reliant on technology and ignore the value of humans. Smart technology will increasingly replace even complex roles; however, it will be some time before it can outperform humans in problem solving, creativity, negotiation, collaborative design, conflict resolution, and crisis response. We need to think about how to invest in staff to maximise their potential with technology in an enabling role, how to care for those whose roles and departments are being disrupted by AI, and how to raise everyone’s digital literacy so they understand the nature of the technology that is bringing about such change in their world.

Firms of all sizes and in all sectors, will need to strike a fine balance between AI and the human workforce in their organisations. Careful decisions about which roles and functions to automate should guide AI strategy in business—a simple “bottom line” approach will compromise the human element and could erode the firm’s uniqueness over time. It will also be important to show compassion and support to employees being displaced by new technology.

The gifts from AI to society include smarter decision making and the capacity to draw new insights from vast arrays of data. The technology also offers the potential for cost-saving replacement of humans, and efficiency-oriented high-volume applications which are simply beyond human capacity to execute in a meaningful time frame. However, a sweeping implementation of AI without regard for the impact on employees would be bad internal PR at the least, and could actually have devastating consequences in terms of customer appeal and local reputation for a business. Furthermore, the cost of widespread unemployment cannot be carried by the public alone; private industry will almost certainly be expected to contribute to a solution for the economic instability that rash automation would create.

Reflecting on the Dangers of Bias in AI What potential risks might emerge from bias being built into or learned by AI applications? Rohit Talwar, CEO, Fast Future: “We could use AI to look for hidden bias in all situations from dating and retail through to recruitment and criminal justice.” Alexandra Whittington, Foresight Director, Fast Future: “We should take special care with the use of AI around marginalised populations of all kinds. This includes the LGBT community but others, too, like the elderly, disabled, the poor, and children. There is a lot of development being done around healthcare and domestic care-giving robots with AI, for example. It is essential that we avoid the risk of dehumanisation of the person being cared for when we leave children, or an elderly person, alone with these technologies. It was recently reported that some children’s products that were connected to the internet via household Wi-Fi were recording audio and the transcripts were being sent to advertisers. We still have a way to go before there is a solid element of trust between humans and smart, observant technology.”

The Future Impacts of Artificial Intelligence on Cars “New ‘autonomous people moving units’ can be designed around their primary purpose: moving people around on business, on leisure, on holiday and hold out the promise of being inherently safer, more fuel efficient and productive – freeing up drivers’ time. We might also observe in the future self-owning, self-monitoring, self-diagnosing cars that use peer networks to connect with other smart vehicles to form self-insurance pools.

Vehicle to vehicle communications will make traffic flow smoother and smarter and autonomous cars could bring an end to individual ownership – self-owning vehicles could earn money all day from transporting people and share that revenue with whoever manufactures, services and refuels them.

Other features can be enhanced such as the safety advantage of facing away from the direction of travel, windows could be completely removed to be replaced by lightweight, self-healing materials (improving vehicle performance) capable of displaying any chosen projection from the view outside to a view of the sky at night.

Towns and cities would benefit through lower pollution, reduced traffic congestion, lower car parking requirements and new service propositions such as mobile doctors’ surgeries which visit the patient to enable remote diagnosis and conversation while the doctor remains in their office.

We could see the emergence of per mile/per trip/per second insurance in which drivers pay more if the roads are busier or there are more humans at the wheel. Dynamic insurance would be based on feedback from an AI that is monitoring the driver’s mental health, reaction times, body language, and vital signs – upping the cost per trip if you are in an agitated state.

Smart vehicles could do traffic management between themselves in a dynamic network. Vehicle to Vehicle (or, V2V) and, eventually, Vehicle to Everything (V2E) communications could be built into the Internet of Things, which would mean data sensors everywhere.

We could also 3D-print spare parts and do customisations at home. Manufacturers will be able to 3D-print one-off replicas of models from the past and concept cars that never made it to production. Dynamic ads personalised to the viewer on the outside of the car could help fund the costs of car purchase and ownership.”

Steve Wells, COO, Fast Future: “Artificial intelligence could radically change car servicing in the future. Components will be continuously monitored against increasingly large and sophisticated data sets – covering both the way the vehicle is driven and the service history of the component in other vehicles. Analysis of the data will provide the opportunity to replace a component before breakdown; thus reducing costs and the inefficiency of withdrawing the vehicle from service. While this is of course helpful to all vehicle owners, the advantages to fleet and commercial operators would be significant. Autonomous vehicles could even be set up to drive themselves to the service centre for component replacement.

3D printing represents a potential game changer for the automotive industry; not just in manufacturing, but also in service and maintenance. Take the example of a 3D-printed car with 50 components compared to a current day car with 5,000. Firstly, there are fewer components to go wrong. Not only that, we would see components manufactured at the service centres when replacements are required. The component specification could be downloaded from the manufacturer’s database and printed on the service centre’s printer.”

Maria Romero, Foresight Researcher, Fast Future: “The combination of AI and fully electric cars would simplify these machines as we know them today. Tesla’s cars today already have an extra front trunk. With the introduction of AI to manufacturing and design, some car parts would be able to adapt to several functions, eliminating unnecessary redundancy. A steering wheel could be designed to morph into a headrest when not in use, for example. Vehicles themselves could gain modular capacities to enhance the passenger experience; autonomous cars could become programmed to behave as pods that link up with other pods, creating in effect an ad hoc mass transportation system.

With less to maintain and AI monitoring the car’s performance constantly, less time and money would be required for maintenance. Physical repair shops might be rare and centralised. AI-to-AI online assisting would be the norm. A specialised self-driving repair fleet would attend major cases wherever the vehicle is.

The user interface (UI) will be key for the future of smart cars. UI customer support could become the main issue with these vehicles. Repair shops would need to focus their services on the UI to be able to respond to the rising demand.

Driverless cars should create safer roads for everyone. However, an extended consequence of a dramatic reduction in car accidents might also cause organ shortages. This market gap could be filled by an increase in regenerative medicine, nanomedicine and smart implants. Ultimately, organ shortages might open up the opportunity to present human augmentation as a socially acceptable option.

Driverless cars could become an extension of – or actually replace – your home. Combined with trends like remote working, gig working, co-working, informal and seasonal work, along with other fluctuations in employment for which “the office” has become moot, we could imagine a future where people can literally live safely on the road. Physical addresses might be replaced by our cars’ IP addresses and delivery system would know to adjust dynamically. Parking areas could turn into leasing spaces to ‘park’ your home for ‘extended’ (a day or two?) periods of time.”

All ages can travel safely As our (Western) population continues to age and is projected to possibly live to 120 or more, self-driving cars could become a life saver. We shouldn’t have to worry about elderly people driving and putting themselves and others in danger because they’re too stubborn to give up that independence. They’ll maintain their independence and dignity by calling on self-driving cars to transport them safely to where ever they need to go. Silver alerts (US missing person alerts for elderly drivers) could be a thing of the past as caretakers would be able to program and monitor where seniors go. Similarly, kids will be able to travel anywhere safely. We may see teen hackers overriding parental controls and joyriding across the city. I’d love to see tech savvy granny break out of the care facility, hack a car, and go joyriding with Ethel and Mildred to Luby’s for the senior liver and onion special.

In terms of insurance: Who is at fault when the car has an accident? Who pays for damages to the car and to the humans? Will individuals’ insurance rates drastically decrease with self-driving cars?”

April Koury, Editorial Director, Fast Future: “I believe that driverless cars will help to improve road safety. Driverless cars wouldn’t exceed the speed limit. This coupled with GPS using live traffic alerts could drastically reduce traffic on the roads. I believe that driverless cars could help most with avoiding drunk drivers; the self-driving car would take passengers home safely without risking anyone’s life.”

What Doctors Need to Know About AI Healthcare AI applications should enable huge amounts of data from multiple sources to be aggregated, analysed and extrapolated – allowing ever more sophisticated and comprehensive insights, inferences and causal patterns to be identified. For example, data could be combined from wearable devices, healthcare records, genetic information, family histories, food diaries, shopping purchases, patient income statements, public health sources, and local authority databases.

AI is already in place in ‘smart cities’ – locality infrastructures designed to inform management decisions on everything from street lighting, to traffic control and policing. Smart city networks capture massive amounts of information about the population and its patterns of behaviour using a range of sensors and data collated via diverse devices ranging from street cameras and building management systems through to mobile phones and wearable technology. This Internet of Things (IoT) generates huge volumes of data, which is transmitted and shared via cloud computing and interpreted using AI processing capabilities.

As part of the smart city concept, we should see the emergence of smart hospitals, with the medical equipment, beds and physical fabric of the hospital all providing data about patients, professionals, the building infrastructure, and logistics (flows of people, goods and health information) through the hospital. Which patients have been left unattended for an excessive period? What services are being used the most? How did the infrastructure of the emergency room cope? Where are resources laying idle? Which department is under, or even, over staffed? How can resources and personnel be deployed more effectively?

Using AI, trends can be monitored in real time and predictions made as to where and when to deploy people and physical resources to maximum benefit. So, for example, if an AI ‘notices’ that the emergency room sees the most heart attacks on Friday afternoons, extra emergency room doctors and cardiologists can be deployed ahead of time.

Big and small tech companies are investing heavily in developing health businesses. Physicians’ training will increasingly include data management capabilities, less memorising and more communication skills.

Medical malpractice insurance will probably extend to cover their use of AI. Given the lower margin of error expected with AI diagnostics, medical professional liability insurance prices could decrease.

AI could evolve into “Big Mother,” a type of AI that will tell you what’s best for your health making decisions for you – like taking you to the gym instead of the bar.

Technological, integrated, frictionless, transparent yet secure health systems will attract patients, but price might be the main reason why patients incorporate more and more AI into their health routines. AI diagnosis, medical triage and treatments don’t need to be perfect, they need to be “good enough” for patients to make the trade from human to AI healthcare.

How Might AI Shape the Future of the Paycheck? The technology is reaching the point where we could do per-minute or even per-second payments and have different payment rates depending on the time of day you worked – potentially tied to some measure of your productivity. These measures might prove unpopular with employees because pay statements would get ever-more lengthy and complex. For employers where staff are out on the road e.g. sales people, drivers, maintenance staff – this would be a real boon as they could start to pay differential rates for sitting in traffic versus doing the job. The downside is that it might encourage dangerous driving and speeding as workers try to minimise idle time.

Generally, as technology replaces humans, competition for jobs may increase and we could see payment approaches more tied to performance and the productive time worked – for example – only paying full rates for time at your desk/work station and reduced rates for any breaks.

As artificially intelligent software is increasingly integrated into businesses, companies should have no problems automating daily or even hourly payments to any of their employees. Accounting software may become intelligent enough to recognise different types of employees – temps, contract workers, full salaried employees, for example – process and pay out paychecks per employee type, and adjust the company’s books automatically, with little to no oversight from human accountants. With even greater integration, the outputs of the employee, contractor, and supplier may be directly linked to the payment process as salaries or invoices are paid in outcomes not effort/inputs.

How Might AI Help with Gun Control? There are four key ways that AI and low cost emerging technologies could help with civilian gun control:

Prevention. Cheap sensors in the gun and bullets could detect that there were multiple people in the impact area and disable the gun or divert the bullet.

Deterrence. Cheap cameras in the gun and bullet connected via the Internet of Things (IoT) would allow for each firing to be recorded and an image of the shooter and target to be captured – with the information to be shared with the relevant agencies in a secure registry.

Detection. Next generation scanners could be installed at the entrances and exits of public spaces such as hotels and stations and image recognition software could instantly detect the presence of weapons which would then be traceable throughout the space.

Usage control. Simple biometric ID technology could be built into guns to ensure that only the registered user could fire them – preventing accidental or deliberate misuse.

Presuming the right to carry arms is retained, then AI can support the assessment of the likely suitability of an individual to exercise that right. The combination of health, work, education, social media, and criminal records can help to develop a risk profile that provides the basis of a pre-purchase license. Genetic information can be included to ensure the license applicant and purchaser are one and the same individual. Of course, the supporting political decision would need to ensure a consistent application of a nation-wide approach for the technology to be deployed effectively.


Rohit Talwar, Steve Wells and Alexandra Whittington are futurists with Fast Future.